Wayne Rooney will represent England one last time, but not everyone is happy about it
- England’s all-time leading goal scorer is set for a send-off cap for the Three Lions against the US in a friendly
England’s all-time leading goalscorer will wear the Three Lions one last time on November 15, but not everyone is OK with Wayne Rooney’s “send-off” cap.
The former Manchester United and Everton striker, who just finished his first season with DC United in the MLS, where they were knocked out of the play-offs in the first round, has been handed a token 120th cap for his country.
The game will be a friendly against the United States at Wembley, and reports say Rooney will come off the bench. The Football Association has designated the game The Wayne Rooney Foundation International, as the 33-year-old’s charity will be one of a number of organisations that will benefit from the proceeds.
Rooney issued a statement via an FA press release on the honour:
“I am truly humbled and hugely excited to play for England at Wembley again. I would like to thank Gareth Southgate and The FA for inviting me back and helping to support my Foundation in the process.
“Playing for England was the greatest honour of my career – so winning my 120th, and final, cap will be a particularly special moment for me. It’s fitting that the match will be against the USA and I hope that both sets of fans enjoy the game.”
However, a handful of notable figures have expressed hesitations at the gesture, most notably former West Ham boss Harry Redknapp, who said in an interview that it “makes the game a bit of a circus”, noting that England have an important Nations League match against Croatia three days later.
Redknapp was joined by Peter Shilton, England’s most capped player, who added that the move was “completely wrong”.
The Guardian is also reporting that none of the current members of England’s national team were consulted about the plan by Gareth Southgate and the FA. There is also the issue of what shirt number Rooney will wear. He wore 10 for most of his playing career with England, and it is the number he is synonymous with, however right now Raheem Sterling usually dons that shirt.
Many pundits believe the move is part of a campaign to try and see notable players off better from their time with the Three Lions, which includes Gary Lineker and Steven Gerrard, who sat on the bench for his final game with England as they were dumped from the World Cup in 2014 by Costa Rica.
David Beckham famously turned down a send-off cap against France in a friendly match after his final appearance for his country in 2009, noting he would not play unless he was picked for the squad “on merit”.
One former player did come to Rooney’s defence, Ryan Giggs, who said in an interview with Sky Sports that Rooney needs to be recognised as an “iconic player”.
“I understand people have got different opinions but, from knowing Wayne and what he has done for England, I don’t see any problem with it.”